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Weekend in Stuttgart Part 1 - Ulm

Since I have been in Germany I have only been in the city over the weekend once and that was the first weekend I arrived. From then on, I have been busy going on one adventure or the next. As my time is pretty much over here, I decided to stay in the city this weekend and explore some of the things I told myself I would see way before I even landed on this continent. I thought that I would visit the Wilhelma Zoological and Botanic Garden my first weekend in but I was busy doing other things so I decided to throw it in this time.

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In any case, this is what I did last weekend. Took a train to Ulm, Germany which is on the river Danube and the birthplace of Albert Einstein. In Ulm I visited the beautiful, colorful and busy Ulm Marktplatz. But, my real purpose for going to this city was the see the famous Ulm Cathedral and climb all of its 768 stairs.
the beginning of the 768 stair climb. Which I did of course albeit huffing and puffing pretty much all the way up. So was everyone else so I didn't feel too bad.
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Ulmer Münster
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view of Ulm and surrounds from Münster
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Inside Münster
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My lunch :)
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Posted by CanaGerm 01:00 Archived in Germany Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Berlin Day 3 - Sachsenhause

Today I took my final trip with the same great tour company. This time it was the SANDEMANs New Berlin SACHSENHAUSEN TOUR.
small car used for tourists
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I don't have much positive things to say about this concentration camp, as you can imagine, so you can just take the pictures in and some of the captions. It was truly a grim experience for me and the other tourists. I felt very heavy and reflective on the way back into the city. I never want to go to another concentration camp again because I felt horrible after being at Sachsenhausen.
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a look at the actual layout of the whole camp
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i know it is hard to see but this building was called the Green Monster. it got that name because the prisoners who were actually lucky enough to work at this house (and not out in the elements) got to prepare & serve all the soldiers, guards, Hitler and his croonies the succulent food they were not allowed to eat. Sneaking a bit of food was punishable by death. Therefore green monster was born. i agree!
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the grounds
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inside one of the barracks/prisons
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solitary confinement. i am sure it was a million times worst for the prisoners
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where prisoners were shot to death
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the "oven". this was one of the most disgusting things i have seen to date of my entire life
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the "body room". dead bodies were piled up high in this room
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Our tour guide left us, at the end of the tour, with this little tidbit from Mark Twain, "History doesn’t repeat itself—but it does rhyme". Very interesting indeed.

That evening I took myself off the to the Reichstag (the seat of German parliament).

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Even at that time of day, after 5pm, the line was still very long. But I was happy to go in and see a huge piece of German parlimentary history.

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The next day my train left after 11am so I didn't have time for another tour or much sight seeing. I didn't really want to either as my time in Berlin was just enough.
grafitti art in the train station
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I had my fill of war, Hitler, graffitti, grimy surroundings, no green, and that overall big city, constant construction feel. I was not into Berlin but as I said before, I am glad I was able to visit Germany's capital.

Posted by CanaGerm 20:04 Archived in Germany Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Berlin PotsDam Day, Day 2

Today I headed with Claire and the rest of our tour group to the German state of Brandenburg which is the capital of the legendary Potsdam. To get to the state, we took a train out of Berlin and then a bus and did a lot of walking. Our ultimate goal in Potsdam was to visit the gorgeous Sanssouci Palace which was the playground for the Prussian king, Frederick the Great.

Here are some scenes along the way within Potsdam.
Glienicke Bridge
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This city is very rich and upscale although from outwards appearance, I could not tell. Some parts were just run down and old looking, much like a lot of Berlin, but it is affluent and very expensive.
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Palace Cecilienhof where the infamous Potsdam conference was held. These walls hold a lot of government secrets no doubt!
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Along the way, Claire told us about the incredible and often times funny history being Potsdam and the war. Very interesting indeed. Take a read here if you wish to learn more.
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Gate to the city
I managed to take a lot of pictures and have some great laughs at the silly kings and rulers of the time in good old Prussia.
Dutch quarter
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At lunch we made our way to a quaint little cafe that served great sandwiches and were famous for their cakes, apparently. So good. Then it was onto more touring and walking.
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Potsdam's Brandenburg Gate
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city square
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Finally, when we got to Sanssouci, I actually gasped in wonder. So far, this is my favourite castle/palace of them all! It is so pretty and fun.
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Frederick the Great's final, final resting place. There are potatoes on this grave as he first recognized that this vegetable could feed the nation
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After the tour, we made our way back to the city on the train and everyone went their respective ways. It was a great tour and I was sad to see Claire go...But I had other things to tacke that day. Namely, a BBQ.

If you remember from Munich, you will know I met a girl Andrea who I hung out with and promised to meet up with in Berlin.
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Well, we met up that evening and it was great seeing her. First on the agenda was seeing a famous site in West Berlin before going to the BBQ.
Awe inspiring Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche. This church was partially bombed in the war and is kept alive to remind the world and Germany to not repeat the same mistake
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After getting off a train, we made our to Kaiser William Memorial Church. This church is kept alive and standing to remind Germans of the war and the destruction it all caused. I was in awe of the building.

We then made our way to the BBQ party. It was a nice night but it was cold so I left a bit after midnight. A great eventful day.
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Andreas salsa dancing with her friend
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Posted by CanaGerm 10:10 Archived in Germany Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Berlin City tour Day 1

After hopping a very early train from Stuttgart hbf, I made my way to Berlin for a weekend of education and adventure.
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Well, onto my brief explanation of my time there. After getting in, I went to information to find out exactly where Brandenburger Tor (Bradenburg Gate) was so I could go on my first tour. Once again, I used SANDEMANs for the free city tour of Berlin. And once excellent. This time our guide was Claire, a hilarious and wonderful girl from the UK who is in the process of making Berlin her home.
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After making our way to most of East Berlin's iconic attractions, we took one step and hopped into West Berlin.
Brandenburg Gate
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the Polizei! there was a silent protest going on so the polizei were out...just in case
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the silent protesters...literally as their mouths were covered with a black strip of cloth. you gotta love Germans. they always fight for their cause
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Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
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It was a great tour actually. I recommend everyone use this company as even the tours you do have to pay for are usually under 15,00€ which is damn cheap compared to most of the other tour companies in Europe.
part of the Berlin Wall
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checkpoint Charlie
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After the tour, I walked around the city and took it all in. Berlin was sort of grimy but in a good and interesting way. It is just so different from other parts of Germany. I still can't get over it!
Cathedral in the Gendarmenmarkt
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concert hall in the Gendarmenmarkt
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a famous statue of a woman holding child. i forget the name completely. it depicts the ravage and struggle of war that Germany underwent
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Berliner Dom
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At the end of the trip, I asked myself the following questions. Did I like Berlin? No! But did I enjoy anything about it? Yes. Unlike other German cities I have visited though, I would not like to return to it's capital. A lot of people like Berlin and that is fine. I think the overall consensus is you either love Berlin or you hate it. There is no room for a middle ground and after being there for a few days, I understand why. One of the other reasons I didn't love my visit is because I didn't see much of anything that was beautiful about Berlin. I associate Germany with beautiful landscapes and surroundings, none of which I was able to get in Berlin. Anyway, more on Berlin to come in my next posts.

Posted by CanaGerm 14:03 Archived in Germany Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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